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Congress Passes SOPA In Emergency Session

Posted by: , 22:01 AEST, Sun April 1, 2012

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In a move that has surprised everyone, the US House of Representative passes the controversial SOPA legislation with an overwhelming 310 'Yays' to 80 'Nays'
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Image/Photo Credit: VinothChandar (Creative Commons)

For those that haven't worked it out yet, here's a hint: first letter of every sentence ;)

Amidst a cloak of secrecy, the US Congress passed the controversial SOPA legislation in an emergency session on Saturday night, which did not conclude until the early hours of Sunday. Perhaps the biggest change to digital copyright law since the DMCA was passed back in 1998, the copyright friendly bill sailed through the House with an overwhelming 310 'Yays' against the 80 'Nays'.

Rallying the supporters of the bill in the House of Representatives, the MPAA has, for the past week, been secretly lobbying for the vote to get onto the floors of the House in one of the last sessions before the Easter break, before opponents of the bill had time to organize an effort to resist.

In January, opponents of SOPA staged a day of protest which saw thousands of websites, including Wikipedia, black-out their website for 24 hours to highlight the dangers of SOPA. Little did organizers know of the immediate effect of the protest, with Congress indefinitely suspending a scheduled vote on the bill pending further "investigation".

For all the good the "Anti-SOPA" protest day did, it appears to have been in vain, as D.C. political manoeuvres proved to be a successful weapon yet again even in the face of strong public opposition.

Opponents of SOPA have vowed to fight on, calling on the Internet to once again make its voice heard. Organizers of January's anti-SOPA movement have also promised a new series of crippling web strikes until "SOPA goes the way of Myspace", quipped one member of the movement.

Last night's emergency session in Congress also paved way for SOPA's sister bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), to be passed in the Senate as soon as it reconvenes after Easter. Senators supporting the bill have confidently told TheHill.com that they expect PIPA to pass easily at that time.

Despite this latest victory, the MPAA feels the work is not yet done on the legislative front, with more proposed legislations in the works that will further help the industry fight against the threat of online piracy. Addressing reporters, MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd spoke about yesterday's events, calling it a "watershed" moment, but warned that online piracy cannot be defeated with the successful passing of just one legislation, and again stressed the importance of Intellectual Property to the American economy. "Yet that intellectual property is being stolen every day - nearly one-quarter of all Internet traffic is copyright-infringing - and that is costing us hundreds of thousands of jobs each year," Dodd told reporters.


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